Enjoy the expat improvisational stylings of The Clap and Ephemerata, two English language improv troupes that perform in Taksim every first and third Friday of the month, the next show being this Friday, March 20
Improvisational theater, or improv in which most of what is performed is unscripted and created in the moment by the players on stage has now made its way to Turkey and there are even two crews of primarily expats who perform long-form improv shows in English in Istanbul, namely The Clap and Ephemerata.
Both are offshoots of the Square Peg Theater, an international English language acting troupe that used to perform at The Space, Turkey's first expat improvisation theater. Although the troupe is now inactive and the space has unfortunately since closed, its former manager, theater enthusiast and fellow expat and Californian Kelsey Yuhara went on to form The Clap, originally as a Theater Sports Group, in 2013. Kelsey now describes the troupe as "an English language improvisational theater group with an all-international cast of players,"
"Due to the nature of the international community in Istanbul, we have a fairly fluid group with a core of about seven performers who have been training together for over a year. We are currently training some new players who joined us within the past couple of months and we hope they'll join us on the stage someday soon." I asked where this international cast of improv all-stars hails from and Kelsey said, "We're an international group with current representation from South Africa, Italy, Iran, Syria, Turkey and The United States. In the past, we've had members or performers from other nationalities as well and also Turkish members on the team."
Performances are completely improvised and consist of a collage of short scenes that last for 30-40 minutes spurred by a one-word suggestion asked of the audience. The real audience participation comes in a segment The Clap shares when they perform with the comedy duo Ephemerata, in which Kelsey describes, "as a whole company we take one person from the audience, interview him or her and then reenact their day in a farcical or satirical way."
I asked Kelsey if it was possible for other improv enthusiasts to join the crew and she said, "I have always tried to make the group inclusive to people who are genuinely interested and dedicated enough to really participate in the group. New members are welcome to join but are not promised performance time at this moment because it does take several months to find group cohesion and become comfortable with our style of performance."
Kelsey says she has been involved in theater one way or another for almost her entire life, "So, it's the constant that I'll never give up, no matter what I'm doing. I moved to Istanbul about three years ago to teach English and see if I could give up theater. It turns out that I can't. So, I quit my job at the university I was working at and I've been freelancing ever since." I also asked her what she does in Turkey to which she said, "What I do in Turkey can't be put into a box. I do a lot of things. I teach, I avidly learn languages, I make theater (this group and other projects), I rock climb, I write, I do yoga, and right now I'm diving head first into the world of entrepreneurship with a new app to help English Language learners gain fluency through speaking practice."
Like The Clap, Ephemerata also originated in the fall of 2013 and is an Istanbul-based improv comedy duo of American expats Curtis Erhart and Tyler Denison. "Basically, the show is an improvised play performed by two people," explains Curtis, who has lived in Istanbul for the past 10 years and is a computer programmer by day. "It got started almost two years ago when I was listening to this Radio Lab podcast about the TJ and Dave show. Those guys are improvising royalty. I used to watch them when I lived in Chicago at the Improv Olympic theater where I studied improvisation," Curtis recalls, adding that he had tried to get an improv group together in Istanbul for a while but it was hard to get people to commit, when he thought, "Why not just do a two person show? I had done some Square Peg shows with Tyler and was really impressed by his talent. We weren't totally sure it would work out when we started, but we've really surprised ourselves with how well the show has gone."
Performances are all 100 percent improvised, there is no form at all and they usually run for about an hour, explains Curtis, adding, "The lights come up, one of us says something and it builds from there. However, before we walk out on stage we have no more idea than the audience does of what is going to happen. It is just the two of us, we play all the characters and we also switch back and forth between characters all the time. That is, if one of us creates a character, the other will probably play that character at some point during the show."
Ephemerata join The Clap for performances every first and third Friday of the month at the YOTA Doğaçlama (Improvisation) Theater off İstiklal Avenue in Beyoğlu. Kelsey of The Clap says she likes performing at Yota because it is a great central location with a cozy, friendly atmosphere. "The house is small (only about 30-40 seats) and we usually fill up so I think it's a good home for us right now." On other nights, there are a number of entertaining Turkish crews that take the stage at YOTA.
Both Kelsey and Curtis want to bring improv jams back, as they were popular and entertaining when she used to run them at The Space. However, she says what made them so great in the past was the atmosphere of the space and so now her main setback has been finding a venue that she is in love with to do it in. "In any case, I hope to get those going again one day (perhaps over the summer). Interested parties should check us out on Facebook and any future jams will certainly be posted on the English Language Improv page."
to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the
used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan
ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen